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Paul Bunting, Partner, Aspinall Wright Solicitors
Welcome to Costs Round Up, the 5 minute read that enlightens, brightens and informs on the week in legal costs news.
This week, there was a notable decision on the issue of the assignment of CFAs. Jones v Spire Health Care Ltd on appeal at Liverpool County Court found that the CFA was validly assigned. This was a big, bold if somewhat unexpected decision and, as Kerry Underwood writes (in the comments section below that article), “the sooner we get onto appeal on this one, the better”.
Ever wondered how the law on fundamental dishonesty was bedding down? Forbes Solicitors have an interesting scoop on their case where the Claimant was found fundamentally dishonest after relying on a photograph taken before the accident occurred. The result was an enforceable costs order.
Elsewhere this week, there was a lot of comment on the benefit of pro bono work making better lawyers however both interviewees in this article state clearly that free advice will never replace a properly funded state legal aid system. Good news because as James Sandbach, writing in Legal Voice this week confirms “it’s official, legal aid cuts are making people ill”.
We think the time is right for a full review of the impact of LASPO in accordance with the government’s own promise to review the Act within three years of introduction.
Sue James is a legal aid solicitor who this week wrote a piece entitled “a mad dog day afternoon on the duty scheme” touching on the joy and craziness of working with vulnerable people who need access to justice fast on social housing matters at the Hammersmith and Fulham Law Centre.
Mondipa Fouzer writing in the Law Society Gazette reported that the Ministry of Justice had ruled out reviewing the 8% rate of interest it charges when legal aid has to be repaid – even though the Bank of England continues to hold UK interest rates at 0.5%.
Ms Fouzer reminds us that :
“Repayments become liable in civil cases when legally aided individuals - for example, in divorce cases - are awarded money or property by the Court. The so-called statutory charge, converting the legal aid grant to a loan, may be imposed at the end of the case on the litigant’s money or property”.
We still believe that a forward thinking Government could use this fact to make a difference and create a legal aid system that can self-generate income.
And finally, we could not let the week pass without reference to the heated debate on high heels neatly explored over at Legal Cheek who ask would you be sent home from a law firm for refusing to wear high heels? We would definitely recommend a quick look at the comments section at the end of the article if you are looking for some light entertainment over lunch!
One thing’s for certain, office shoes will be swapped for trainers this weekend as Michael Fitzpatrick from our Newcastle Office runs in the Chester half marathon.
Good luck Michael from all of us!
Until next time….